Gyanvapi mosque row: Hindu side moves Supreme Court for scientific investigation of ‘Shivlingam’ found at site : The Tribune India

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Gyanvapi mosque row: Hindu side moves Supreme Court for scientific investigation of ‘Shivlingam’ found at site

A Varanasi court had, on July 21, 2023 directed the ASI to conduct a detailed scientific survey to determine if Gyanvapi mosque was built upon a pre-existing temple

Gyanvapi mosque row: Hindu side moves Supreme Court for scientific investigation of ‘Shivlingam’ found at site

The Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi. PTI file



Tribune News Service

Satya Prakash

New Delhi, January 29

Days after an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) report suggested existence of a large Hindu Temple prior to the construction of the existing structure at Gyanvapi mosque complex, Varanasi, the Hindu side on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to the ASI to make necessary investigation of the “Shivlingam” found at the site in 2022.

In an application filed before the top court, the Hindu side also urged it to vacate its May 19, 2023 order that put on hold the Allahabad High Court order allowing a scientific examination of the “Shivlingam” without causing any damage to it.

A Varanasi Court had on July 21, 2023 allowed their plea for a scientific survey of the entire building, excluding the sealed area i.e. the place where the “Shivlingam” was found and the report has already been submitted to the court in December 2023.

“The area of Shivlingam has been surrounded by raising artificial walls which are modern construction connected with the original building,” the applicants said, adding that “the area has no religious significance for Muslims as according to them there is an alleged fountain,” the Hindu side submitted.

“Now it’s necessary that the sealed area be also surveyed by ASI, otherwise the very purpose of survey would be frustrated as there will be no report of ASI regarding the area under seal,” they submitted in their application filed through its counsel Vishnu Shankar Jain.

The Supreme Court had on January 16 allowed Hindu women plaintiffs’ plea for cleaning the water tank (wazukhana) in the Gyanvapi mosque that is located in an area sealed on its orders under the supervision of the Varanasi district magistrate after being told that there were dead fish in it.

A ‘shivling’ was reported to have been found there during a survey in May last year.

A Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud – which issued the direction on a request made by the Uttar Pradesh government -- noted that a similar plea has been filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, the management body of the mosque, before a Varanasi court.

The “wazukhana” (used to perform ritual ablutions), where a structure claimed by the Hindu litigants to be a “Shivling” exists, will not be part of the survey, in view of an earlier Supreme Court order protecting that spot in the mosque complex.

A Varanasi court had, on July 21, 2023 directed the ASI to conduct a “detailed scientific survey” -- including excavations, wherever necessary -- to determine if the Gyanvapi mosque located next to the Kashi Vishwanath temple was built upon a pre-existing temple.

The high court had confirmed the order on August 3, 2023 and a day later the top court had dismissed a petition against the high court’s order.

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